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Irene lashes New York

world Updated: Aug 29, 2011 01:13 IST
New York

Tropical storm Irene lashed New York on Sunday, shutting down America's largest city but sparing it serious damage after killing 14 people on the US east coast and flooding many parts of the region.

The eye of the storm - downgraded from a hurricane, but still blasting up to 65-mile-an-hour (105-km-an-hour) winds and near horizontal rain - passed over the Big Apple mid-morning, as millions went without power further down the coast. Localised flooding occurred in the south and east of Manhattan, with more serious incidents in Brooklyn, where the famed Coney Island amusement park took a battering and outlying beaches were swamped.

There was particularly heavy flooding along the low-lying south shore of Long Island where TV footage showed the high tide, rain and ocean surge drive waves right up against expensive beach houses.

At least 14 deaths have been blamed on Hurricane Irene, which slammed into North Carolina on Saturday with 85-mile-an-hour (140-kilometer-an-hour) winds and began tracking up the coast. The youngest victim, an 11-year-old boy, died when a tree crashed through his apartment building in Newport News, Virginia. The latest were a woman motorist trapped in a New Jersey flash flood and a firefighter fatally injured during a rescue attempt.

Strong winds were expected in New York until nightfall Sunday as the weakening storm continued up towards Boston.

But the first hurricane to hit the Big Apple for a generation so far appeared to have generated more sound and fury than real damage.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, still smarting from criticism over the city's slow response last winter to a big snowstorm, had ordered extreme precautions, including shutting down the entire mass transport system on Saturday and ordering 370,000 people to evacuate their homes. In New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie ordered the evacuation of more than a million residents from beach communities. Meanwhile, the National Hurricane Centre reported that a new tropical storm, Jose, had formed and was approaching Bermuda.

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